Pushing Through Procrastination

I have a confession to make...It is something that my clients know all too well in their own lives. In fact, it is a common topic with most of the universe at one time of another. This year,  on more than one occasion, I have struggled with the sometimes crippling fear of procrastination.

Fear? Yes. Procrastination can be stripped down to a base fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of pain or discomfort. The list could go on to meet whatever monkey is on your back.

However, this year I also made it my goal to be brave. I knew that in order to meet my own fears head-on, that I would need to muster up the mental tenacity to face these feelings that keep getting in the way. I was tired of being "stuck". As I reflect on the things that I have accomplished this year, it is apparent that I am winning the war - and it feels amazing!

Today, I just passed my ACG oral exam with ADDCA, the ADD Coaching Academy where I spent hundreds of hours training to become an ADHD Coach. It is important stuff for me. It is a huge first step in certification - an accomplishment for most ADDCA coaches who are committed to the coaching process. Yet I spent the better part of the last 6 months avoiding the process. I came up with a million excuses - from "I'm not ready." to "Just one more client would prepare me for this." What it really came down to was fear. Fear of failure. That's a big monkey and the most common for procrastinators. But these past 6 months have also been full of working through this struggle with perfection and resilience on a personal level. I took the leap with eyes wide open, acceptance of whatever the outcome might be, and knowing that regardless of the end result I would learn and grow from this experience.

So, how did I find my bravery? How did I manage to break the cycle of procrastination this year? I moved beyond the fear. I found the courage to confront what was getting in the way. One might even say that I shifted my thinking to what Carol Dweck would call a "growth mindset" for these things that keep getting in the way. [You can read more about that in her book Mindset.] It is a shift I often encourage for my clients - peeling back the layers, finding the roadblocks, and moving beyond them with a new perspective and an openness to growing from each new step. It's scary sometimes, but the payoff can be worth it.

This year, with each fear I tackled, I found success when I faced the following questions:

  1. What am I afraid of? It is really true?

  2. How important is this goal or task to me?

  3. What would it take to move one tiny step forward?

  4. How will I learn from this?

  5. What will celebrate with each success?

That last bit is the positive momentum that keeps many of us going when it feels hard - feeding that reward center of the brain. So, today, I finally faced that fear of failure once more. Earning my ACG was a Top 10 Goal for 2016. Each day I moved one tiny step forward, and I prepared myself for failing forward by walking through the "what ifs" and next steps. I lept forward, arms wide open to whatever the outcome. 

I lept and soared. I feels great to knock this accomplishment off my list. To celebrate, I am sharing my vulnerability with you, my readers. We all have things we struggle with in our lives. Regardless of how big or small they may feel, forward momentum is contagious. Now, to tackle that pile on my desk....

Next time you feel stuck in a cycle of procrastination paralysis, I invite you to face you to be brave, too. What stops you in your tracks at this very moment in time? Better yet, what would be possible for you if you push though these fears?